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A Letter to The Doctor of an Ex Suspected of Having Borderline Personality Disorder

Submitted for this site by "Joanne"

Dear Dr ***********

I’m writing regarding Philip ******* of ********* Hostel (**** ****** Avenue) who I believe is your patient and under a psychiatrist at *********** Surgery. I’m writing because Phil has serious mental problems and I know he hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with your psychiatrist about certain things (Phil told me as much) and I believe that in such circumstances the psychiatrist can consult with the family / partner of the patient.

I thought it might interest you to know that Phil is a wife-beater. I was assaulted by Phil on Thursday the 22nd of September and my injuries (black eye, split lip, bruises) were recorded at ****************** Hospital on the 23rd of September. This was about the eighth time I was violently assaulted by Phil but it was the first time I approached the police or sought medical attention because this time he marked me much worse than he ever had before and I had tried to leave him about eight times and he told me he was going to kill me if I went through with it. The only way I managed to get rid of him was by moving house without telling him. That’s why I can’t come in to speak to the psychiatrist about him in person.

I believe that Phil is seriously mentally ill. He has a very tenuous sense of self (his personality changes markedly according to who he’s talking to at the time). He’s paranoid, pathologically jealous and he has psychotic episodes where he becomes violent, his speech makes no sense and he remembers things that never happened.

For example when he’s having an episode he gets very offended at me using the word “you” in any context (eg. if I said “what do you think?”) because apparently the word “you” means the exact same thing as “bastard” and he had me looking it up in the dictionary he was that convinced. (Needless to say I only looked it up to humour him). Then I said “So you want me to refer to you in the third person?” and he said “So who’s this third person then?”

He said I’d slept with nine people on one day, “Yes you did. You admitted it”. Needless to say that’s complete nonsense. He said I’d cheated on him with the entire bar staff of ***************** including a gay lad and the barmaids. Once he saw someone in the pub looking at his phone and laughing so he thought the guy “obviously” had naked pictures of me on his phone. He told me that clouds are made out of smoke and before there were human beings there were no such thing as clouds.

Phil is extraordinarily manipulative. He would never believe I’d been where I said I’d been. If I went to the dentist, he wouldn’t believe I’d been to the dentist. If I went for an interview, he wouldn’t believe I’d been for an interview. If I went to town and went to a few shops he thought I’d obviously been in town having sex with someone else. I had to remember every shop I went in, in what order and keep the receipts then he’d say things like “so where were you last Tuesday at 3.00” which was obviously impossible to remember. It was getting to the point where it wasn’t worth going out on my own anymore (I don’t mean like for a night out, I mean to the shops) because of the endless accusations that followed. I believe this was his aim and that’s why I call him manipulative.

He also accused me of sneaking people into the house to have sex with if I ever stayed in on my own. He would come storming in shouting “Where is he?” and saying that the duvets were on the bed in a different order than when he left (I don’t honestly know if they were or weren’t. If they were all crumpled up then I made the bed, the first thing I did is throw them on the floor so they probably did end up back on in a different order.) Once he came storming in and said “That umbrella was there and now it’s there [about six inches to the left of where it was before]. Why??” and I’d end up thinking “Yeah, why?”

He’d go through my phone up to three times in half an hour (when there had been no calls subsequent to the last time he looked) and go through the call register going “who’s this then, who’s this then?” for calls that were to plain mobile phone numbers, from months ago, which he’d probably made himself.

It was like he randomly accused me of cheating on him and the onus was on me to prove that things that never happened, never happened i.e. account for the 24 hours in a day when I wasn’t cheating on him.

Phil is extraordinarily demanding. He had no notion of giving me any space or privacy and seemed to see any boundaries I had (regarding privacy etc) as a challenge for him to try to batter them down.

He seemed fairly normal then moved himself in (to all intents and purposes) after one date, was in love with me after two days, had hit me within a week and threatened to kill me when I tried to leave him.

On day 3 at 9am I asked him to give me some space (I had asked a number of times) and he said “space, right, I’ll give you some space” then was back at 11am with his mate and a load of tins of lager, treating my house like a pub. It took a month before he slept one night at the hostel and I never heard the end of that with him accusing me of what I supposedly got up to the night he spent away. Out of the six months we went out together he slept at my flat every night except perhaps five nights in all.

After day 3 every time I mentioned the Space word he said “right you can have all the space you want then” and threatened to leave me which I would have been delighted with on the face of it, only every time we “broke up” he came back threatening to kill me and saying things like “you think I’m violent now? You’ve never seen me violent.”

The whole situation was contrived to make me spend 24 hours a day with him and the noose kept getting tighter.

I know that it’s dangerous for a layperson to self-diagnose or attempt to diagnose people around them however I am personally convinced Phil has Borderline Personality Disorder, as he meets most of the DSM IV diagnostic criteria.

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

Phil had me trapped in that situation by telling me he was going to kill me if I left him. Also if I tried to spend any time away from him he would start accusing me of things and him accusing me of things was always the first step before a physical attack.

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

After two days I was the “love of his life” and “the best thing that ever happened to him” He barely knew me. And he’d go from that to screaming abuse at me, accusing me of outlandish things and physically attacking me.

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

I thought this was a very odd characteristic in him before I had ever heard of BPD. If someone were to say to me “What’s Phil like?” I’d hardly know how to answer and that’s why going out with him was so disorienting. He’s like a non-person who doesn’t have a personality so much as a series of actions and words that have no predictability. Living with him was just like a series of events with no consistency or rhyme or reason (it’s hard to explain) and I still couldn’t make sense of it for about a month and a half after I left him until I found out about BPD.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

Obviously alcoholism and refusing to eat for days on end. He also told me that he’s also a former heroin addict, cocaine addict and gambling addict.

5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.

He told me he had a history of suicidal behaviour. I had to fetch him off the cliffs once because he was going to jump. The night after, someone had to talk him down off the roof of the cabin lift shaft. One time he cut his hand with a knife when he was having a psychotic episode and he was in his room at the hostel talking to his dead son (who he could see there talking back to him.)

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

Phil would rant and scream and hurl abuse at me for hours on end. He tried to strangle me on about seven occasions. He’s punched me, kicked me and slammed me into the floor. He also regularly gets into fights at the hostel and the pub and it’s like he scarcely knows what the fight was about, himself. Once, he punched a guy at the pub and every time he told me about it he had a different justification, one excuse being that the guy was playing pool and he set the triangle up wrong.

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

His paranoia regarding me supposedly cheating on him and the fact he “couldn’t remember” assaulting me, or his memory of it was severely warped. For example the time he slammed me into the floor he could remember me lying on the floor but thought I was lying on the floor trying to put a CD into the computer (???). Once he had me by the throat, pinned against the wall, then punched the wall about an inch from my head. He couldn’t remember having me by the throat but remembered punching the wall “because it was either that or punching you” so he could remember what his right hand was doing but couldn’t remember what his left hand was doing at the same time.

I’m sorry this letter is so long. It’s difficult to outline six months of chaos in a letter. I hope this information might help you or more particularly him.

In spite of the fact Phil’s extremely manipulative I don’t think manipulative’s quite the right word because for one thing I doubt he had the intelligence to plan all that. It seems like his “manipulative” behaviour was some weird, twisted defence mechanism to stop me from leaving him.

Phil can’t stand to be on his own. If he’s on his own he starts bouncing off the walls and this can trigger an “episode”. When he’s having a fully-fledged BPD rage I don’t think he knows what he’s doing anyway.

One other thing is I don’t know if you think that his alcoholism can account for all of that behaviour. I believe that alcoholism and BPD can coexist and I saw a quote from an AA spokesman saying the difference between alcoholics and BPD’s is that BPD’s were the ones that consistently fail at AA. Phil’s AA diary is behind the bar at ******* Bar and he says that one of his three ex-wives got him committed into a big rehab place in London (Springfields?) for six months and the day he came out he got a taxi right to the pub and told his ex-wife to pick him up there. (Then again Phil has a number of these dodgy stories where everything’s a little bit too colourful. He also told me he stole a police car with its lights going.)

I’m just offering my opinion. I’m not arrogant enough to try to tell you your job. In my heart I’m 100% convinced Phil has BPD as so many websites etc seem to describe his behaviour exactly. It seems, to me, like Phil’s a textbook BPD.

I wish I could come in and talk to his psychiatrist about this but for my own safety I can’t go anywhere near ****** Avenue. If you want to ask me anything you can email (******************) or my mobile number is ************. I probably won’t answer if I see a ******** area code or withheld number.

1. I’ve not got around to changing my phone number yet and I’m still getting a lot of missed calls off Phil


2. the police advised me to move out of the area and cut off all contact with anyone in *********

but if you leave a message I’ll get back to you.

In spite of what Phil’s done, to let him go through his life without a proper diagnosis and thus proper treatment that would be inhumane.

Thank you for your time.


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    Last up-dated January 3, 2006